Senator Scott Wiener and SF Democratic Party Chair David Campos Lead Call for Reasonable Cannabis Regulations

In face of proposed severe restrictions that would effectively ban new cannabis businesses in San Francisco, coalition of elected officials and leaders rallied to call for Board of Supervisors to reject regressive proposals and pass reasonable regulations
November 8, 2017

San Francisco –  Today Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and San Francisco Democratic Party Chair David Campos joined with current and former elected leaders to call for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to pass reasonable regulations that allow for adult use of cannabis to begin January 1, 2018 in San Francisco.

At the rally, Supervisors Jeff Sheehy, Malia Cohen, and Hillary Ronen joined to express support for reasonable, citywide regulations, as did Board of Education President Shamann Walton and Commissioner Matt Haney, and former Assemblymember Tom Ammiano. Also in attendance were members of the City College Board of Trustees, including President Thea Selby, and Trustees Rafael Mandelman, Tom Temprano, and Alex Randolph.

“Cities across California are looking to San Francisco to be a model of how to do this right, and if we descend into a Reefer Madness approach to cannabis - treating like some poisonous substance - it will give less open-minded communities an excuse to follow suit,” said Senator Wiener. “San Francisco shouldn’t kill the cannabis industry with highly restrictive zoning and unreasonable regulations. San Francisco must continue to be a leader in the implementation of progressive cannabis policy so that we can enjoy the economic, health, and cultural benefits of a sound, responsible cannabis industry.”

“If we had passed these same kind of restrictions when alcohol prohibition ended in the 1930’s, San Francisco would never have become the cultured city we all love today,” said Chair Campos. “We can’t fall back on conservative, anti science rhetoric. We need to be forward thinking and work to create a cannabis industry that is serving all of our people. After decades of a racist drug war that put millions of people of color in jail, City Hall has the chance to make reparations by passing cannabis laws that empower the communities that the drug wars hurt the most. Let’s get to work.”

Currently, the proposals before the Board of Supervisors include several draconian proposals that will effectively ban new cannabis businesses in almost all of San Francisco, thus reducing access to cannabis, foregoing tax revenue and employment opportunities, preventing historically marginalized communities from entering the industry, and abandoning San Francisco’s opportunity to continue to be a leader in cannabis access and innovation. This includes expanding the proposed barrier around schools from 600 feet to 1000 feet, and including childcare centers as part of that exclusion, which would cover almost all of the city. In addition, several neighborhood-specific proposals have been introduced, which would further restrict access in the areas eligible under these already extreme rules.

These proposed regressive rules would inhibit access for all communities and restrict the ability for new people – including those who have been disproportionately impacted by drug criminalization -- to enter the market and create new jobs.   

At the press conference, members of the Board of Supervisors called for the Board to take a step back and take a citywide focus on enacting sensible cannabis regulations.

“Our City’s leadership on cannabis is being tested now more than ever. Twenty years ago we fought the federal government and Attorney General to protect patients and we won. San Francisco must stand united against the Trump/Sessions agenda,” said Supervisor Sheehy. “I know that with the support of our community, we will be able to pass local laws that make cannabis legal in San Francisco on January 1st.”

“I am concerned that alarmist, misinformed rhetoric appears to be driving decision making," said Supervisor Cohen, author of a proposed cannabis business equity program. "The proposed land use restrictions significantly undermine the goal of the equity program--restoration for, and investment in, communities disproportionately harmed by the failed drug war. If we care about access, health, and safety, let’s invest in the improvement of existing retail spaces and facilitate operations for new ones by writing standards into law. The current course - restricting new businesses from opening at all - is an inelegant solution that flies in the face of what the public vote approved.”

San Francisco Board of Education Member Matt Haney joined to talk about the impacts of a healthy cannabis industry on families struggling to make it in the most expensive city in America. “Cannabis has the potential to be a new blue collar industry that can bring hundreds of millions of dollars of new economic opportunities to communities in our city that are struggling,” said Haney. “We’ve rolled out the red carpet for the tech industry, why aren’t we embracing an inclusive, healthy Cannabis that can bring jobs, tourism, and taxes to struggling communities? It’s an industry that all San Franciscans can be a part of and benefit from.

Prop 64, which legalized adult use of cannabis in California, received 74% of the vote in San Francisco last November.  San Francisco has a long history of leading on cannabis issues, including pioneering the medical cannabis movements. San Francisco was the first city in the country to have a medical cannabis dispensary 25 years ago.

“While Ronald Regan was refusing to even say the word AIDS, our cannabis community was making sure that people living with HIV were getting cannabis medicine.  And without San Francisco leading the way Californian would never legalized medical cannabis or passed recreational last year,” said Ammiano who was instrumental in the legalization of cannabis in California. “ It’s a shame that the current Board of Supervisors is forgetting our history and trying to pass restrictions that take us all the way back to the 50’s.”

The Board of Supervisors must create a regulatory framework for businesses to sell cannabis for adult use, and to cultivate, manufacture, and deliver all cannabis when it becomes legal on January 1, 2018. If the legislation is not passed, these businesses cannot operate in San Francisco on January 1.